Even as there have several instances of indecent representation of women in advertisements, films and web media, the Karnataka Police have hardly registered any cases to prohibit them.
Only three cases have been registered under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, in the state in the last seven years. Neither any person has been convicted so far, nor have cases been disposed off.
However, the police in the city have a different version. “We sometimes book the cases under IPC 509, which talks about the insulting the modesty of women. Hence there might be lesser cases under the Act,” said police inspector S Badrinath.
Earlier this month, the Union Cabinet has approved certain amendments to the Act and broadened the scope of the law to cover audio-visual media and materials in electronic form. By this, sharing porn or obscene videos online or through multimedia messaging services (MMS) may soon attract a prison term up.
“These changes are just a hogwash. The most required amendment was to the Cinematography Act, without which, women will continue to be objectified and disrespected. Also, unless laws are meticulously applied, and the accused are convicted, the changes will just remain on papers,” said Prameela Nesargi, senior advocate and women’s rights activist.
For example, the recently released Kannada film Dandupalya drew criticism as the female lead actor had showed her bare back in the film. However, the director said that the censor board had given permission and hence nothing can be overlooked by the police for indecent representation.
“The question of indecency will be decided by the Censor Board. In our case, they had approved the scene and the Film Chamber has approved the posters. So, the police cannot overrule it,” said Srinivas Raju, the director Dandupalya.